Kindness and The Power of Words

My Mother, who I consider to quite possibly be the wisest person I have ever known, raised me on the adage of —  “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”  Her intent was to both support me when on the receiving end of hurtful barbs sent my way, and to make sure that I learned not to launch any in the direction of others myself.

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With all due love and respect to Mom, that’s plain hogwash.  Sticks and stones may break our bones, but Words can be truly hurtful.  We need to be especially careful, supportive and encouraging with our chosen words for children, whose self-images and psyches can be so fragile.  And with everyone, really.  Words have the power to hurt or heal.  Support or discourage.  Build up or tear down.  Words can serve to create or to devastate and crush a young and loving spirit.  Broken bones and wounds tend to heal well over time, but poorly chosen, hurtful words can leave lasting impressions and scars that stay with us forever.

An unkind word is like toothpaste.  Once out, it is impossible to put back.  Hurtful and demeaning words may be forgiven, but likely never forgotten.

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A kind word can mean the world to someone who may be going thru a rough stretch of road. And we never really know what someone may be going thru from outward appearances. Oftentimes, all a struggling person may need to turn a life in turmoil around is a kind word to know someone else cares.  On how many occasions after someone has passed, have we heard the sentiment — “If only I had told them . . . . “?

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We should never let pass the opportunity to lend a hand, help someone, or as William Makepeace Thackeray put it — “Never lose a chance of saying a kind word.”

Thanks as always for stopping in to visit.  Share a kind word, and make someone’s day a little brighter.  — Jim   (and Red!)

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Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

 

“Empathy — Walking a Mile in Their Moccasins”

As a kid growing up, to me my Mother was a suburban housewife, no different from all the other kids’ moms.  Getting me off to school in the morning, keeping up the house while dad worked, having dinner ready when he got home.  Doing the shopping and all the other household tasks of a 1950’s and 60’s housewife.

Only now, can I look back to realize and appreciate the rich Southern, Country and Native American background and traditions that my mother also brought to my upbringing. She had familiar and time-worn phrases that she would repeat over and over again which have stayed with me all my life. In retrospect, she was probably the wisest person I have ever known. One of her favorite admonitions was — “Never judge someone until you have walked a mile in their moccasins,” from the 1895 poem by Mary T. Lathrap.

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Everyone has a story and a chapter they are living today in that story, and we are all part of the whole.  What happens to one of us happens to all of us.    The world needs more Empathy.  So often we toss out the well-intentioned “Hey, how ya doin’?” without pause while we keep on walking.   What if we stopped our own pursuits  for a minute and meaningfully asked — “Really, how are you doing?”  And cared.

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The following is a wonderful, heartfelt video produced by the Cleveland Clinic which can be extended beyond the hospital walls to the world outside.   When you look at someone, do you observe the outward appearance of the person in front of you, or do you feel and see the story of the individual?

 “Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?” — Henry David Thoreau

Everyone is living their own story, facing their own struggles and battles, most of which we are not aware, and it gets lonely in the trenches sometimes. We need to take the time and make the effort to learn the stories to let someone know they are not alone.

Thanks as always for visiting!  Help make the world a more caring and better place today.   — Jim  (and Red!)

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Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

The Importance of Play!

Nature programs and the internet are full of videos showing cute baby animals at play.  Young animals learn critical life skills thru their play, and human children are no different.  The old saying — “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” — certainly applies to children and the learning process.

Thru active play children learn to use their imaginations as well as developing critical interactive social skills and creativity.  Outdoor play is even better, combining activity with fresh air and exercise.  Children not only deserve, but need a healthy dose of playtime.

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”   ~ Fred (Mr.) Rogers

It is important to remember also, that playtime is not restricted to the young.  We all need to step away from the routine now and then to refresh and recharge, in order to remain healthy, alert and active; both living and enjoying life to the fullest.

Thanks as always for visiting.    Now, go outside and play! — Jim (and Red!)

Artwork by Jessie Willcox Smith via Garden of Bright Images, Facebook

Artwork by Jessie Willcox Smith
via Garden of Bright Images, Facebook

There Are No Age Limits on Fun!  “The Adventures of Little Red Bear” Short Stories.  For All Age Groups and Fitness Levels!

“Finding A Purpose Driven Life — What Would You Do If . . . . . . ?”

Have you ever wondered “What on Earth am I here for?”  Of course. Who really hasn’t?

In finding our life paths and callings, there are three important questions to ask for both ourselves and guiding our children to find a meaningful and purpose driven life —

  • What would you do if . . . .  it were impossible for you to fail?
  • What would you do if . . . . money did not matter?
  • What would you do if . . . . you did not care what anyone else thought about what you do?

To find the answers, we need to quiet our minds from the outside noise of the world, be still, and listen to our heart and inner voice; and not allow ourselves to be guided by our ego driven mind to find the key.

A wonderful video via National Geographic featuring the message of Alan Watts provides insights for us all.   What would you do if . . . . . . . . . ?

Life is much too short and precious to waste it feeling miserable.  Aligning with our real purpose for being here makes all the difference. Helping our children to learn and understand that lesson can help make all the difference in their lives, too.

So — what do you really, truly desire for your life? And for your family?  And for your children’s lives?

Thanks as always for visiting with us.  Find your happiness and peace, share it, and be the reason someone smiles today! — Jim (and Red!)


Family Times — Together Times — The Best Times!

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“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” — Emilie Buchwald


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

Children + Nature + Outdoors = Happy, Healthy Balanced Kids


A Special “Thank You!” for Readers and What’s Ahead in the New Year!

A special New Year’s Thank You!” to everyone who has followed along the past year on the Blog, my Author Facebook Page, on Twitter and with “The Adventures of Little Red Bear” short stories book collection released in June!

A few quick hits for New Year’s.  I am not a big numbers guy, not seeking to build great legions of followers for the sole sake of impressive numbers and ego stroking. But when you write or put creative work out there for the enjoyment of others, numbers are a way of gauging whether there is any interest or if your work is fostering the intended enjoyment for others.

So it was encouraging to see that my Blog site continues to grow, having achieved a 60% increase in both visits and followers in 2015, was visited over 4,400 times and reached a new high averaging 20 visits per day in December and now being read in 86 countries!   “The Adventures of Little Red Bear” continues to gain new readers internationally, and has been very positively received.  Twitter followers are nearing the 10,000 mark worldwide.   We keep growing together, one positive message at a time.

To me, this is an indication and further encouragement that there still remains a receptive audience and place for enjoyable clean, uplifting and positive themed information and entertainment of high standards.  So for you, readers and followers – Thank You!

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Looking ahead, the course will remain the same but hopefully with even more activity shared in the coming year.  As always, the focus will be Entertaining, Informational and Educational.  In the works for the new year are –

A continued focus on the natural world and conservation issues including the revival of nature interviews and features on the Blog by our assistant, “Rusty the Fairydiddle”, a Red Squirrel Reporter, as only a Red Squirrel can do them.  Check out “Rusty Behind the Scenes — The Gray Fox Interview” for a sample.

Rusty the Fairdiddle, Red Squirrel Reporter on the Job!

Rusty the Fairdiddle, Red Squirrel Reporter on the Job!

A serialized Free Story or two on the Blog, similar to the “Ozarks Ostrich Crisis” which started it all a couple years ago.

More Free Reads, Poetry and other Short Works as inspiration and the muses allow.

Little Red Bear finds humans fascinating for one reason or another, so in addition a new series of interviews is planned on the Blog to include not only fellow writers and authors, but other creative and interesting folk as well.  The list of those already agreeing to be interviewed include photographers of various disciplines, artists, authors and more.

“The greatest danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” ~ Michelangelo

Plans also include sharing more new teddy bears, raggedy dolls and other creations and information on the Blog, just for fun.

And — after months of “thinking” and note-making, writing on the next collection of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear” short stories began in earnest the past week.  As you may recall, the full title of the first collection of stories was “The Adventures of Little Red Bear:  The First Holler!”   The next collection will be appropriately titled “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The Second Holler Over!”  Returning the main characters, it will also feature the introduction of some very new and colorful characters as fun and hijinks in the backwoods continues.  And with those pesky weasels still around, we’re never really quite sure what may happen.  Red and I are working towards a summer or early fall release, so please stay in touch for updates.

So Much Work, So Many Adventures, So Little Time!

So Much Work, So Many Adventures, So Little Time!

Actually, staying in touch is pretty easy.  Following the blog is as simple as signing up, with notifications of all new posts delivered directly to your email inbox.  It is always Free, never any spam, and features a growing list of Free Reads, Information and Fun Stuff available anytime.  Some easy links to follow the Blog and on Twitter are located in the column to the right.  Just click here to “LIKE” and follow my Author Facebook Page and on Pinterest.  Please join me on my Personal Facebook Page for a steady stream of positive and uplifting messages, recipes, music selections, shared artworks and photography from friends, and other fun.

As we move further into the new year, I expect the general loudness and rancor may increase as we approach the Presidential election in November.  My intention is for all of my sites to serve as a mental oasis and refuge of quiet, peace, kindness and love for everyone.  You are welcome to visit anytime.

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So, heading off into the new year and next set of Little Red Bear adventures, then.  Thank You again for a wonderful and encouraging year!   And please remember, the “Welcome” mat is always out, there’s a pitcher of tea waiting and cookies in the jar at all times; and comments, feedback, referrals and sharing are strongly encouraged and very much appreciated.  As Little Red Bear is fond of saying — “A shared joy is a doubled joy.”

Hoping to see you stop by and visit often!  — Jim (and Red!)

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“The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!” Short Stories on Amazon.  About an uncommonly special bear and his friends! 

Christmas — “It’s In The Singing Of A Street Corner Choir . . . . . .”

Where do you find Christmas and the Christmas Spirit this time of year?

Do you look under a tree?  Search in the gift shop?  Or perhaps — at the street corner?

I have found when confronted with a mystical or difficult question, it is often best to ask a Muppet.   So —  “Where is the Christmas Spirit to be found?”

“It’s in the singing of a street corner choir,
It’s going home and getting warm by the fire,
It’s true, where ever you find love, it feels like Christmas.

“A cup of kindness that we share with another,
A sweet reunion with a friend or a brother,
In all the places you find love, it feels like Christmas.

“It is the season of the heart.
A special time of caring,
The ways of love made clear.
It is the season of the spirit.
The message if we hear it,
Is ‘Make it last all year’.

“It’s in the giving of a gift to another,
A pair of mittens that were made by your mother,
It’s all the ways that we show love that feel like Christmas.

“A part of childhood we’ll always remember,
It is the summer of the soul in December,
It’s when you do your best for love, it feels like Christmas.

“It is the season of the heart.
A special time of caring,
The ways of love made clear.
It is the season of the spirit.
The message if we hear it,
Is ‘Make it last all year’.

“It’s in the singing of a street corner choir,
It’s going home and getting warm by the fire,
It’s true, where ever you find love, it feels like Christmas.

“It’s true, where ever you find love,
It feels like Christmas.
It feels like Christmas.
It feels like Christmas.
It feels like Christmas!”

(“It Feels Like Christmas”  by  Paul Williams.    Published by Fuzzy Muppet Songs.)

Roy L. Smith observed — “He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”    True words.    Peace, Love and Joy are to be found within and shared in the company of others.

Merry Christmas!  Wishing everyone the best of Peace, Love and Joy this Holiday Season! — Jim (and Red!)

"The Muppet Christmas Carol", 1992. Produced and Directed by Brian Henson for Jim Henson Productions, and released by Walt Disney Pictures.

“The Muppet Christmas Carol”, 1992. Produced and Directed by Brian Henson for Jim Henson Productions, and released by Walt Disney Pictures.

A Christmas Poem — “The General Store Christmas”

“The General Store Christmas”

A present for his father.

A gift for his mom.

A dolly for sister Susan.

A Tonka truck for brother Tom.

A hairbrush for Grandma Betty,

A Sunday tie for Grandpa Bill.

Milk-bones for little Petey,

With a doggie sweater for the chill.

But what to give a horse,

For whom he cared and fed?

Just the perfect present — 

A shiny apple for Ol’ Ned!

He’d worked for many weeks,

Saving money for Christmas cheer.

Finding all the perfect gifts,

For those he held so dear.

He’d waded thru the snow,

To Rosebud’s General Store.

Stacking presents on his sled,

Til he couldn’t fit no more.

Heading home, away he went,

Across the countryside.

Pulling his gifts and treasures,

And filled with love and pride.

Awash with Christmas spirit,

He sang happily and free . . . .

“We wish you a Merry Christmas,

And a partridge in a pear tree!”

A Christmas Poem — “Love’s Candle in the Night”

“Love’s Candle in the Night”

She placed a candle on the windowsill,

Flickering soft and gentle light.

Waiting for love’s return,

On a dark and snowy night.

Christmas lights twinkled,

Glittered ribbons sparkled silvery bright.

While softly sifted snow fell,

Each flake divinely measured flight.

Blanketing tree and bush and road,

The snow covered all in downy white.

No sound of breath or footstep,

Merely winter’s silent might.

Pensive moments passed like hours,

Awaiting heart’s delight.

❄    ❄    ❄    ❄    ❄    ❄    ❄

The

Snow fell,

On this winter night.

Shapeless forms ever taller,

Drifting, rising to great heights.

Anxious thoughts and worries mounted,

Pondering love’s lost and snowbound plight.

But hope is everlasting and renewed each Christmas Eve,

When love is all around us and comforts winter’s frosty bite. 

The candle flame then brightened, sending forth it’s warming glow,

For no amount of wind or snow could forestall love’s return on this joyous night. 

Fear and worries then abated,

When love came into sight,

Trudging ever homeward,

Guided by love’s candle in the night.

Plant Only Love!

As we head outdoors into the gardens and flower beds with springtime now, let’s also carry this wonderful thought along from the 13th century poet Rumi, below.

In the garden of life, plant only love wherever you may go, and watch it blossom.  Wishing everyone a wonderful and Happy Mother’s Day weekend! — Jim (and Red!)

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